Open Mic: No Soccer, No Problem

Matt SmithSenior Analyst IJune 19, 2008

With the 2008 Euro tournament and USA friendlies all being played right now, soccer has suddenly blown up across ESPN and all other media outlets.


But the question is, why?  Why do Americans only care about soccer when they World Cup is on or the Champions League Final is about to begin?


The answer is simple: because Americans do not care about soccer.  We play it growing up to get exercise and learn how to socialize with other children, but by the time high school rolls around, many of us trade our shin guards in for shoulder pads and metal cleats.


And why should we care?  The biggest soccer superstar is the MLS isn’t even American, and what in the world has happened to the next soccer sensation, Freddy Adu?


When we are growing up we are told that we can be anything that we want, and, while in other nations soccer is perpetuated as the “end-all-be-all”, here in America, it's not.  Why would a top athlete want to play soccer when no one watches if he can become a multi-million dollar hero in the NFL, NBA, or MLB?


Until the MLS can market something, anything, to draw fans into their sport, soccer will be nothing more than a second-tier sport that no one cares about here in America.


How they can compete with the other top sports organizations, I don’t know—I’m not a marketing genius and I’m sure they have tried. All I know is that everyone is fine with watching the World Cup every four years and checking out clips every now and again on Sportscenter.


I don’t think you want that to be the highlight of your organization’s career.


A 0-0 or 1-0 game doesn’t cut it when people are already emotionless about a game.  Make it more interesting, develop better talent, and then maybe in 10 to 15 years people, and top athletes, will gain interest in soccer.


But for now, no soccer means no problem for this sports fan.